Advertising
Advertising

Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

You know the scenario. You have to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision. There may be uncertainties, worries, time factors and safety issues. Decisions have to be made in the office, the bedroom, the kitchen, and in the classroom, all day and every day. All these weigh on our minds as we try to decide if we should let our children play in a park, get the bus or walk, or ask the boss for some time off. If you are like, you spend far too much time in making decisions. Here are 6 practical ways to speed up the process. They also provide a fascinating insight into the whole decision-making process.

1. Try not to get analysis paralysis

You know the situation when you start to over-think the decision. You spend far too much time weighing up the ifs, buts, and what-ifs. One practical way to speed up all this is to set a deadline. You tell yourself that you have to make a decision in half-an-hour’s time, or slightly longer, if you prefer. This forces you to make a decision and you avoid unnecessary procrastination.

Advertising

2. Try to narrow down the issues

Write down what is making the decision so difficult. It may be that things like lack of motivation, peer pressure, and parental interference, are complicating the whole issue. Then spend some time thinking about your goals. Finally, think about

all the consequences of whatever decision you will make. shoesdecisions

    3. Try to build in failure

    We all make bad decisions. I can think back over my life and shudder at all the wrong turns I took and some pretty bad decisions I made. But, I was also able to learn from these. We should expect failure and learn from it. Once you know that a bad decision is a real possibility, it will help you speed up the decision-making process.

    Advertising

    4. Try to recognize your cognitive bias and allow yourself to process and accept other points of view

    “Our brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever our brain wants.”- Daniel Gilbert

    The way we see the world subjectively is known in psychology as a cognitive bias. It affects our judgment and our decisions. This is very well explained in Daniel Gilbert’s book, Stumbling on Happiness. This type of cognitive bias can take many forms. One example is known as the confirmation bias. You may not be aware of it, but you are attracted to people who have similar views to yours. You visit websites and news sources which confirm your world view. The problem is that while this is comforting, you often ignore and dismiss views which are just as valid, but do not happen to fit in with your own tunnel vision of the world. The Internet has made this problem even worse because it is much easier to find larger quantities of people sharing our view, which in turn, reinforces it. When we have to decide on something, we are unaware of how much this confirmation bias is affecting our decision making. Being aware of our limited world view and seeking other opinions and experiences will help us to make more rational and less subjective decisions.

    Advertising

    5. Try to save time by allowing the experiences of others to be a guideline as opposed to having to make your own mistakes repetitively

    Before you buy a certain make of car, you may want to ask about someone who has bought the same model. The person’s opinion and experience can save you time in coming to a decision. If you have to make a decision about which treatment option to take when you are ill, it is often helpful to seek out personal experiences from those who have had the same treatment. Researchers have shown how useful this is in helping to make a decision although they warn that it has to be balanced with factual information as well.

    6. Try to match your decision with your core values

     “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”- Mahatma Gandhi

    In the corporate world, many companies are committed to their core values such as being accountable, responsible, and ready for innovation. But how are these reflected in their business decisions? They will make sure that they are socially and environmentally responsible. On a personal level, this can help speed up your decision making, just as effectively. You are committed to honesty, punctuality, openness, and loyalty when selecting friends, partners, and business partners. Loyalty may be at the top of your list. You will have to make decisions about helping friends in need. You may have to defend them when they are criticized unfairly. You would never repeat gossip about them. Making decisions like these are easier because they match your core values. If you keep these 6 steps in mind, you will be able to spend less time on decision making and also be more relaxed about it.

    Featured photo credit: Decisions/ Martin Fisch via flickr.com

    Advertising

    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Freelance writer

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day 40 Powerful Productivity Quotes From Highly Successful People 10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And Ways to Be Motivated) Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    Trending in Productivity

    116 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed 27 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Writer 36 Characteristics of Successful People That Make Them Outstanding 4The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) 515 Best Android Productivity Apps (2018 Version)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

    Advertising

    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

    Advertising

    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

    Advertising

    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

    Advertising

    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Read Next